On September 22-23 the FIDE Presidential Board held its quarterly
meeting in Elista, with President Ilyumzhinov presenting a strategic plan for
the next four years for the chess federation. He has decided to establish a
separate company to serve as the commercial arm of FIDE.
Proposals regarding the future format of the World Chess Championship were
also debated. The Presidential Board admitted that there were difficulties
in organising the Candidate matches as
announced in January this year. The following matches were to be held towards
the end of this year:
The Presidential Board has now proposed to stage a round-robin tournament
with these 16 players instead, and President Ilyumzhinov has offered to host
the tournament in Elista in April 2007 (exact wording: "to hold all the
matches or the tournament in Elista in April 2007", which leaves it unclear
whether he would host the candidates matches as originally planned).
In reply to this announcement GM Boris Gelfand of Israel
has written an open letter to the President of FIDE protesting the decision
of the Presidential Board. Gelfand iterates all the measures he has taken to
prepare for the Candidates matches as originally announced and urges that the
dates of the event should not be changed, "especially not less than a
month before the event". In addition he criticises the proposed change
in the structure of the World Championship, which should not be changed during
the cycle. In case the dates and the structures is indeed changed Boris Gelfand
expects FIDE to compensate him for damages incurred.
Here are both documents in the original:
Presidential Board meeting
Concurrent with the World Chess Championship Match between Veselin Topalov
and Vladimir Kramnik, the FIDE Presidential Board held its quarterly meeting
on September 22-23 in Elista, Russia.
The Board evaluated the process initiated two years ago and judged it a success.
The key result is the stabilization of the chess world, and the Topalov-Kramnik
Championship Match is the best sign of this process.
President Kursan Ilyumzhinov presented his visionary view and strategic plan
for the next four years of FIDE. He strongly emphasized the task to elevate
FIDE to new heights, to make it a financially stable and the powerful international
sports organization that strengthens its relationship with and its role within
IOC, the International Olympic Committee. In order to achieve these aims, he
had decided to establish a company which can serve as a commercial arm of FIDE.
A commercial license agreement between the Company and FIDE will be drafted
and dealt with in the Presidential Board Meeting in December 2006, in Amsterdam,
Other FIDE activities are to be strengthened and utilized. The President called
the attention to the Chess in School program, the Chess Trainers' Academy and
the World Chess Championship cycle.
In a long session, the Presidential Board thoroughly debated key elements
of the strategic vision and reviewed several practical schemes, versions, as
well as proposals regarding future format of the World Chess Championship and
commercial activities of FIDE. The Board discussed the FIDE budget for 2007
and accepted it. It established the FIDE Public Relations and Marketing program
by unanimous decision and created the PR and Marketing Directorate headed by
Mr. Peter Rajscanyi, Hungary.
The Board approved FIDE titles for players, arbiters and organizers. FIDE
Calendar 2007/2008 has been accepted. The Board reviewed the structure of the
organization and assigned functional responsibilities to each Board member
to make FIDE more pro-active.
In order to resolve difficulties in the organization of the Candidate matches,
the Board offered a round-robin tournament for the 16 players as an alternative
to the original form of the competition. President Ilyumzhinov offered to hold
all the matches or the tournament in Elista in April 2007.
To FIDE president, Mr.Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
Dear Mr. Ilyumzhinov,
Around a year ago FIDE adopted a new system of World Championship. In order
to fight for the highest title in the Chess world, last December I went to
the World cup tournament in Khanti-Mansiisk, took 6th place and qualified for
the next stage – the Candidates matches. In December I signed a letter
of intent with FIDE. In January 2006 FIDE made the pairings and announced that
the matches would take place 20-30th of October with a minimal prize fund of
40,000 US for each match. It meant that for two rounds of Candidate matches
(8 of 1st round and 4 of next round) prize find should be at least 480,000
US. Taking this into account, I planned the timetable of my preparation.
GM Boris Gelfand of Israel
In order to reach the peak of my form for the most prestigious event of the
year, I accepted some invitations like a training match with Czech grandmaster
David Navara to have an experience in matches. However I declined some other
ones, for example, super tournament in Foros with big prize-fund. If I’d
accepted this invitation, I would be rated 3rd in the tournament and would
have good reasons to get at least 3rd prize – US $10,000. I also rejected
an invitation for a rapid event in Cap d’Adge at the end of October.
I would be rated 1st there and would have a good chance to win 1st prize of
16,000 Euro, as I did there already two times.
I also hired some players specially to analyze the games of my opponent Rustam
Kasimdzhanov and my potential opponents, Gata Kamsky and Etienne Bacrot. In
order to help me, my seconds also refused some invitations to the tournaments
and I had to compensate financially their expected losses.
During this, I didn’t receive e-mails or any news from FIDE (which is
strange by itself) starting from New Year. I was confident that matches would
start on time. Last month you confirmed it and assured that "the issue
will be finalized during the Presidential Board meeting in Elista, during the
Topalov-Kramnik match” (I quote from the translation of your
interview to Yuri Vasiliev from the Chessbase.com site on 21st of August
However, yesterday evening in official report of Presidential Board meeting
I read the following:
“In order to resolve difficulties in the organization of the Candidate
matches, the Board offered a round-robin tournament for the 16 players as an
alternative to the original form of the competition. President Ilyumzhinov
offered to hold all the matches or the tournament in Elista.”
Of course the chess players are grateful to you for your kind offer to hold
such an important event. But unfortunately, dates announced back in January
should not be changed, especially not less than a month before the event. But
especially harmful is the idea of replacing matches with a tournament. I never
heard that in any sport that the structure of the World championship may be
changed during the cycle.
I also never hear that in any sport dates of world championship in any stage
were moved in such a short notice. It is especially dangerous to break all
the rules of sport world when chess is trying so hard to become part of Olympic
In case the dates of the matches would be moved from officially stated, or
if the matches will be cancelled altogether I would expect FIDE to compensate
me for my damages, as detailed above.
I am kindly requesting you to reply to my concerns urgently, as announced
dates of the matches are within less than 1 month. I consider the questions
raised in this letter are of importance to all chess community, and therefore
I send a copy of it to some of the most popular sites.
Boris Gelfand, Candidate for the World Championship
Rishon le Zion, Israel